Freebies in your bonnet

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 3:28 pm

16 popular recovery tools which will cost you nothing.

Your data is trapped on a dead computer. You lost your login password or your Windows product key. The computer won’t start. It is not always necessary to spend over $500 at the repair shop to get your data back or start up your dead computer; you can get powerful recovery programs online for free. As long as the HD crash doesn’t mean that the HD stops working mechanically, these tools work flawlessly. Which one of the listed products is best for you depends on your skill level, operating system and particular problem.

16. InsertCD is a light weight distro that will easily run on machines even with modest power allowing you to remove the CD you just booted from and then use the CD drive for other things if needed, even write CD’s. The program’s options include: full read-write support for NTFS-partitions using NTFS-3g, disaster recovery (e.g. gparted, gpart, partimage, testdisk, recover), and virus scanning (Clam Antivirus, the GUI xfprot for F-Prot)

15. Reatogo PE (Bart PE Derivative) allows you to create a customized version of a PE Disc with the latest drivers. To add the drivers, an automatic driver inclusion method is used. This program can be especially helpful for people with RAIDed systems.

14. PC Inspector Smart Recovery is an excellent tool, especially for SD data recovery.

13. For simple drive access, Puppy Linux is a great live Linux disc. It has read/write access to FAT/FAT32/NTFS drives. It’s also very light and fast and will run in a GUI on virtually any x86 PC with 128MB of RAM.

12. Hiren is a bootable disc that can partition, recover, install, find passwords, and many other things. It combines several utilities into one single disc.

11. BartPE is a great utility with tons of plugins to fix your computer when it’s completely dysfunctional. The program requires a Windows XP, 2003, CD/DVD to create a rescue boot disc. BartPE can be built to include McAfee with more current virus definitions and an Ad-Aware.

10. SuperDuper is a pre-emptive recovery tool for Mac. This software can be used to backup your Mac’s HDD onto an external drive. SuperDuper will create a bootable clone of your Mac’s drive, and if the computer dies, you will be able to connect the clone, and, by holding the “Option” key when starting, select the external drive as your boot drive.

9. Key Finder’s version 2 enables you to extract the Windows XP or Vista product key from a dead Windows installation. The program also allows you to display the product keys of common Windows applications, such as Microsoft Office, etc.

8. The all-in-one USB PC Repair Kit will provide you with an access to 37 Windows repair and recovery utilities. All of the tools included in the kit can be easily stored on a 32MB USB drive. The program list ranges from CCleaner, to Eraser, to ProcessExplorer and ProduKey and TweakUI.

7. Undelete Plus is a simple utility intended for bringing back deleted files that haven’t been overwritten on disk.

6. System Information allows you to create comprehensive SIW report with important data which may be necessary in case the machine passes away. The tool is extremely helpful when one needs to dig up software licenses, the type of BIOS or RAM or motherboard installed on your PC.

5. DasBoot is developed for Mac OS X. It creates a bootable CD (similar to DiskWarrior) and, along with other useful utilities, installs it to a portable, writable, external drive, even an iPod. Effectively this makes a writable Mac diagnostic disk to go.

4. If you lost your Windows administrator password or, say, need to boot up an inherited PC for which you have no password, Ophcrack will help you easily. The software can boot a Windows PC and crack alphanumeric passwords less than 15 characters.

3. The Ultimate Boot CD offers a menu of diagnostic disk tools to scan and repair your PC’s drives. The UBCD works much faster than a floppy disk. If you prefer USB drives, a version for them is available for download, too. The Ultimate Boot CD comes with a couple different anti-virus apps (F-Prot & McAfee).

2. Knoppix software creates a bootable CD which contains a completely usable Linux desktop that can copy otherwise inaccessible files from your PC’s HDD to an external drive, such as a USB drive.

1. The GParted LiveCD is a bootable disk that contains a cool partition manager. GParted is a graphical user interface to GNU Parted, an open source Linux partition manager, which can perform all useful operations with partitions such as reading, copying, expanding, moving, etc. The CD now comes with Clonezilla, which helps create disk images, restore existing disk images, clone a disk, etc.

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3 Responses to “Freebies in your bonnet”

  1. luckee Says:

    Thanks! Very useful review!

  2. peachy Says:

    Great software pack, must mark it in faves

  3. Ashley Marie Says:

    Peachy, yep, i made a first aid recovery cd with some of these apps on it - will definitely help if a crash occurs.